February 23, 2018 11:01:52 AM
The Partnership on Thursday issued a statement of support for an LGBT Pride parade that Starkville aldermen voted 4-3 to deny on Tuesday.
The statement, issued on its social media platforms, reads: "As the leader in economic development, tourism, and community development in Starkville, the Partnership echoes the clear message in our mission which states, 'We believe in the inclusive treatment of all people. We are our best when everyone is equally engaged and valued.'"
Partnership CEO Scott Maynard, a former alderman for Ward 5, told The Dispatch on Thursday he hopes aldermen reconsider.
"We're getting many calls from local businesses who are concerned about the impact this will have," he said. "The national publicity is not painting Starkville in a very positive light."
That publicity, Maynard said, will likely come to the eye of businesses who are looking to locate in Starkville.
Maynard said he's already had one man, who was planning a trip through Mississippi with his wife, email him to say they will cancel their planned stop in Starkville due to the parade's denial.
"That's one less hotel room, a few less meals, one less tank of gas," Maynard said. "And that's just someone who decided to email me."
On the industrial development side, The Golden Triangle Development LINK, which is currently developing and recruiting for a $14 million industrial park in north Starkville, declined to comment on the fallout from Tuesday's vote.
However, LINK CEO Joe Max Higgins and other LINK officials have in the past said that divisive issues that draw negative light to communities are harmful to economic development efforts.
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